Man in Critical Condition After Stay in Ricin Room

No apparent terror motive in toxin mystery
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 29, 2008 3:05 PM CST
Deputy Kathy Suey of Homeland Security speaks during a news conference, Friday, Feb. 29, 2008 in Las Vegas. Police said Friday they found a substance that tests indicate is the deadly toxin ricin at a...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A man who stayed in a Las Vegas hotel room where ricin was found yesterday has been hospitalized for 2 weeks after exposure to the toxin and is in critical condition, CNN reports. A friend retrieving his belongings discovered the ricin. "We don't know who it belongs to or why it would be here at this time," said a police captain.

Terrorism is not suspected, and the unidentified man is not a criminal suspect, authorities said. He was admitted to the hospital after complaining of respiratory distress on February 14 and has been unable to speak to police. Ricin can be lethal even in very small amounts, but poisoning victims who survive the first 3 to 5 days after exposure "usually do fine," a doctor familiar with the case said. (Read more Las Vegas stories.)